AURORA, Colo. – Some patients at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital got a sweet surprise from the Broncos Monday afternoon.
Justin Simmons, Corey Nelson, Miles the mascot and a few Broncos Cheerleaders visited several patients staying in the hospital. They brought hot cocoa, hot apple cider and cookies too.
“I’ve gone through a really rough ten days here, so this really brightens my spirits,” one patient, who says she nearly died a few days ago while battling pancreatitis said.
“It puts life into perspective. You get so caught up in the football world and wins and losses and your performance on Sundays and you forget that there’s people going through real life, tough, difficult situations,” Simmons told FOX31.
Simmons called the experience “humbling”.
“As much as we come in and lift up their spirits, it’s ten-fold with them lifting up our spirits,” he said. “You come in here and there’s people fighting for their lives and literally in the best spirits.”
Jim Vecchiarelli was one of the patients who got a visit from the teammates. He is battling terminal stage four bone cancer and says the Broncos help him fight.
“I look so forward on Sundays to watch you guys play,” he told Simmons and Nelson. “It’s an inspirational thing for me. It boosts me up and makes me feel good and that helps fight cancer, if you didn’t know that.”
He likened their visit to catching a “Hail Mary” pass for his health.
“Cancer is like fighting a Bronco team. You always have those plays that come in unexpected and you beat the other team out,” he said.
Simmons was recently named the Broncos’ nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which honors NFL players for their service to their communities as well as their skill on the football field.
One player from each NFL franchise is nominated for the award. Each nominee, including Simmons, will travel to the Super Bowl in February where the winner is announced.